Nowadays a track over the 3 and a half minute mark might scare musicians and artists alike, writing and producing music in accordance to our shortened attention span, however multi-instrumentalist artist Michael Sebastian said sod that and produced an infectious collection of songs inspired by guitar-led improvised jams and recordings.
The South-African born, now London-based multi-instrumentalist and producer released his third studio album ‘Afiye’, a record heavily inspired by a recent trip to Mali and Ethiopia. During his visit Sebastian had the privilege of meeting and learning from the father of Ethio-jazz, Mulatu Astatke. Astatke’s teaching definitely had a sonic influence on the record displayed from Sebastian’s gorgeous syncopated guitar melodies and layered vocal chants. ‘Afiye’ also shares a dance sensibility with irresistible groove-filed percussion and drum samples, taken further with the use of layering Sebastian’s vocal percussions. ‘Afiye’ transcends listeners on a spiritual musical journey, with highlight tracks coming from the hypnotic lead single ‘Mayehna’, a lively and upbeat record that blends organic percussions and guitars with ethereal analog synths along with the improvised afro-leaning track ‘Funah’. The new record follows on from Sebastian’s 2018 second album Kayanda, a record that displayed Sebstain’s knack for creating high-spirited and dynamic instrumentals. After the release of Kayanda, Sebastian decided to take some time to re-discover and hone his musical craft further with extensive live performances and busking sessions, which consisted of hours of guitar looping and improvisations. Sebastian also used this time to compose instrumentals for dance performers around England. His new album ‘Afiye’ perfectly blends and draws upon a range of genres from jazz, afro-beats to blues, folk and house music to bring us a feel-good and unique sounding record that manages to sound inspiring and fresh with every rotation.
When we asked Michael Sebastian about his new album ‘Afiye’, he said that “This album for me is full of joy. I recorded it just after returning from a tour of Africa. I studied and performed with the most incredible musicians whilst I was out there and had the opportunity to discover the people and culture behind the most vibrant music on earth. It was a time where I felt really free and inspired, and I think there’s a sense of that captured in the album. The album also takes a lot of influence from the dance and jazz scene here in London, and it’s really exciting to hear a combination of all of my favourite worlds in one place.”